Shutterstock Attribution 101 - When and How to Credit Your Stock Content

You got access to Shutterstock video and download their high-caliber footage for your edits. Everything is great, but there is one thing that you need to think about: how to credit Shutterstock or the artist you use their footage or images from.

In this short guide we will explain how to credit the stock website or the artist properly as per Shutterstock's rules.

As a rule of thumb, when you buy the rights to an image or video in Shutterstock's library of images or videos, you can use the visual asset in most ways outlined in their terms of service without needing to credit the artist or Shutterstock. 

But there are some exceptions to this general rule, though.

If you use the content in an editorial context, such as news articles, documentaries, or books, you must include proper attribution.

We need to unpack this short statement. 

First, "editorial context" refers to content that's newsworthy, and it can include any visual content, including the content marked as "Editorial Use Only." 

You should also know that the content marked as "Editorial Use Only" cannot be used for commercial purposes like advertisements, websites, or business cards.

Shutterstock also makes it clear that when you use Shutterstock content for merchandise, it's generally "commercially reasonable" to credit Shutterstock. Shutterstock also knows that it can be challenging to figure out how to include the credit for certain types of merchandise. If it is not possible to include the credit in the visual, Shutterstock will be happy when you include it on the bottom of the merch, for example.

In video production, you also need to provide proper attribution. You could include the credit as part of the scrolling credits at the end of the film, for example.

The other interesting detail to know is that Shutterstock wants proper crediting when you use their content from other sources.

There are a couple of other things that creators should know about the Shutterstock licenses.

If you plan to use any Editorial Only images and footage for commercial purposes, you need to get in touch with the Shutterstock customer service team. You'll need to get additional licenses from Shutterstock, which are separate from the standard royalty-free licenses. These licenses may require specific attribution. 

Aside the attribution, Shutterstock's terms and conditions state some restrictions to how the stock assets you license on the site can be altered. You may be allowed to make certain modifications, such as cropping, resizing, or adding text. However, you cannot modify the content in a way that changes its meaning or context. Let's see what it is: you cannot use a Shutterstock image of a person to imply that they endorse your product without obtaining their consent.

Overall, Shutterstock is a great place to find millions of stock images and footage. Providing proper attribution is a crucial part of using Shutterstock's royalty-free content legally and ethically. While it may seem like a hassle, it's a small price to pay for access to a vast library of high-quality images and footage.